It’s Just Stuff

Today has been a turning point of sorts.  Today there has been pain but with pain comes clarity. Having a conversation about all of the stuff I have and the need to get rid of it made me realize a few things.

The first thing it made me realize is that everything that I am stressing about is just stuff.  None of it matters, if it did I wouldn’t be getting rid of it right? One of the things that I learned, then apparently forgot, during my shaman’s training is that all of the things we struggle with, all of the stuff we stress over is just stuff and ultimately none of it matters.  This goes for emotional as well as physical things.  As humans we stress about everything.  We are constantly thinking about stuff that we have no control over.  I believe that this is part of my journey.  Not just learning it but living it.

I have stressed over stuff I can’t control.  I have stressed over the stuff I own and am trying to sort through. I have stressed over what will happen to my son when I leave.  I have stressed over stuff!  Stuff I can’t control.  Stuff I don’t need.  When I was given the vision to go I knew that there was going to be a long road of “letting go” and that it was part of this journey.  I kept thinking that it was letting go of the life I had.  It is but it is also so much more.  It is letting go of the “what if’s,” it is letting go of the physical, emotional as well as the mental.  It is coming to the conclusion that it is just stuff and I have no control over that stuff.

You hear people say all the time that you need to cull or clean things out to remove the old energy and bring new energy in. This is exactly what is happening in my life.  I am culling everything.  I am letting it go so that I can bring the new in.  Holding onto all of the “things” and trying to figure out how to take them with me is not letting it go.  It is putting it off until later.  That is defeating the purpose. Yes, obviously there are things that I will need, necessities, clothing, shoes, etc. There are also obviously things that I will take because although they are not necessities they make my life simpler. My computer, my camera, my phone.  Other than these items what do I really need?

I have no intention of getting rid of the people in my life.  I love them all to deeply.  I know that many of them are not happy with my decision to leave but I also know that regardless of their own feelings they will still love me and support me.  It is just how we roll.  Then there is my son, Jeremy.

It is amazing to me how many people seem to think that I should not leave because of my son. I have stood with my mouth opened to the floor several times when people have made this statement to me.  I raised my son.  I raised my son to stand on his own two feet. He is no longer a child. He is a 23 year old young man. It is time that he have the freedom to become the man I know he will be. It is time that he gets the opportunity to live his life on his terms. We have had an issue since my husband died.  The issue has been that he promised his dad that he would take care of me. Getting him to understand that I don’t need him to take care of me because I am a big girl has been a journey itself. He has been selfless, loving, caring and everything his father would be proud of. Now though, it is time for him to have his own life. He won’t do that if I stay. He won’t because he feels obligated to take care of me.

This journey is my journey and in many ways it is also his journey.  He is being given his freedom. He will no longer be in his parents shadow. He will no longer have to worry about anyone but him. He will do this and I believe he will not only do it but do it marvelously.

I said earlier that I raised him. He is my son. We have been together through so many things. Side by side. I raised him to be confident in who he is, to speak his mind, stand in his truth, think for himself, love wholly and with all of his being, be compassionate, love himself, treat others with respect, to show respect to those that give respect but not to diminish himself by bowing to those that don’t, he has been taught to walk away when he see’s that the situation isn’t right for him with his head held high, he has been taught to stand on his own two feet. I can’t begin to tell you how many times he has proven his ability to step up and be what he decides to be. He is a strong, determined young man. I have zero doubt that he will be fine without me. I raised him to be awesome without me!

I find it inherently unfair for anyone to say that I will come back. Not just to me but to my son. You see part of this journey is the letting go and letting him have his life. How would that look and how would it benefit him if he had the thought in the back of his mind that he can’t do something because his mom might want to come back and move in? Today this became very clear. The break will be clean and although we know that there is no intention of me returning, other than to visit, it is time that everyone understands it. I am leaving and I have no intention of coming back other than to visit. My son will come visit me, I will come visit him, we will never lose the relationship we have but it will change, as it should.

We are both moving on. We are both letting go. We are both finding our way on this journey and in the end we will both be better people because of it. We will grow, we will move forward and we will live our lives with all of the qualities that we both imbue. He is my son, I raised him, therefore I have no doubt that he will be a superb human and his life will be whatever he chooses it to be.

Me, I am following what I am shown. I have found that when I have a melt down more is shown and clarity comes forward. I can see more now than I did yesterday and today I see that it is time to just let go of all the stuff, physical, mental and emotional.  Yup, it is just stuff and nope I don’t need to stress over it. In 30 days or less that stuff won’t matter because I will be in my car driving and following where I am led.  The stuff will be in the rear view mirror and the sunrise will be in view. My son will be free and we will both be living our lives on our terms. It is a beautiful thing.

In Her Service,

Sage

My Best Friend

Today I cried.  I totally lost it.  I mean my body shook and my heart felt like it was breaking all over again. I cried so hard that I could not breathe. This has not happened in a few months.  I didn’t see it coming. It started with a facebook meme. I went to share it and write about it and before it was over I had totally and utterly fallen apart.  I made it upstairs to my son and just cried on his shoulder, literally and figuratively.  He just held me, tight. He just let me cry. He just embraced me and let me have my complete and total melt down without a word.  I have no idea what I am going to do when he isn’t with me to hold me when I have a melt down. It scares me in some ways. I will not have that complete and utter understanding of where I am at that moment.

He understands because he has felt it too. He understands because we have walked through this journey together and although it is completely different to lose your dad vs. your husband the loss is still there and still deep.

It never ceases to amaze me that it can be the smallest thing that will hit you sideways.  The big things you expect to rock your world, don’t, the little things do.  Why is that?  Why is it that you can brace yourself and see the big picture, get through with flying colors then the smallest thing happens and you are brought to your knees?  I will never understand. I guess in some ways I do, for me it is because you don’t see it coming, it is unexpected, but still, if you can handle the big stuff why not the little things?

I woke up in a good mood this morning.  Decided to get more stuff packed and sorted.  I had been listening to music and feeling pretty good. I sat down for a moment to check my facebook and this meme was there:

marry

No big deal. I went to share it and as I was typing my thoughts on it. I realized, once again, that I had lost my best friend, he isn’t coming back. Nothing I can do or say can change it. You know you always think that you have tomorrow and everything will work out one way or another, then you realize that when someone dies there is no fixing, cajoling, begging, nothing can bring them back. What is done is done, it is forever.  No second, third, fourth chances, it is done. No looking back, no future, nothing. Just done.

I have worked daily to deal with my grief. There have been many things that have rocked my world over the last year and half but today it was different. Today it was a complete and utter realization that no matter what I do in my life from this moment on, no matter how good or bad things get, I am alone. I no longer have my best friend to turn to and share with. It is just me. Nobody to hold my hand, nobody to hug me, nobody to text just to say, “Hi. I love you!”

Don’t get me wrong. I know that I am enough. I know that I can do this. I know that I am a strong person. I know that the pain will subside. I am very much aware of where I am in each moment. I am aware of my “now” on a regular basis. I strive to remain in the moment with all that I do. Yet, knowing all of this does not fill the hole that has been left. It doesn’t mend the want. It isn’t a need, it is a want. I want a best friend. I want that back. I know that it will never be who it was, death took that, it won’t return, it doesn’t stop me from missing it and it doesn’t stop me from wanting it again.

The meme says it all, really. Marry your best friend. It is the foundation for all of the peaks and valleys you will have to go through. It will get you through everything. I believe it is the most important part of a relationship. Today, the Universe just smacked me hard and reminded me that without that friendship you have nothing. It wasn’t a gentle reminder but a reminder it was.

So today I cried, harder than I have in months but ultimately I learned. I learned to trust in what I know and in myself. I can do this. I will do this. A new best friend will happen, eventually. Until then I am my own best friend. I know me best and the tears can flow, the heart can ache but ultimately when I leave this earth it is the friendship I have with myself that will go with me. The love I share with others will live on in them. I will laugh alone. Cry alone and ultimately die alone. It is how life works. We enter this world alone and ultimately we die alone. We may have loved one’s with us but ultimately the relationship we have with Spirit and ourselves is all that we take with us when we leave. I am good with Spirit and I am good with me.

They say that you can’t love someone else until you love yourself. I love who I am albeit I don’t always like myself, ultimately I love who I am and what I bring to any table. Because of this I know that when that next love comes along I will be ready and can give my all.  I always do and always will. It is who I am. For now though I am missing having a best friend and dreaming of the day the beauty of a new friendship begins to bloom. It will happen, until then, I will hold onto being my own best friend and sit with Spirit knowing that all is well in this moment in time.  Time heals, I am healing. Love heals, I love, I am love. For today my tears heal, I am healing. Spirit embraces, I return that embrace. Grateful for the lesson. One more step in the right direction of being the best me I can be, a baby step, a step nonetheless.

In Her Service,

Sage

 

I Believe

Everything is happening at break neck speed!  Does your life ever feel like it is just spinning out of control and you aren’t accomplishing anything, yet, you have so much to do?  I am there!

I have about 31 days, if not less, before I get in my car and just go.  Yet I am finding many days I accomplish absolutely nothing.  It isn’t for lack of trying it is just one of those things that happens.

I just celebrated my birthday last weekend.  I had a great weekend but I accomplished nothing, at least nothing physical.  I did accomplish a few things.  I made some new friends and I was able to spend some beautiful time with my “kids.”  I made memories of the most beautiful kind.  My time with them is short. I am leaving soon and I won’t have those days of doing nothing with them for a while.  I imagine that when I return to visit, their lives will be a lot busier than they are now, the days of hanging out and doing nothing will be long gone.  It is so sad to think that we don’t enjoy our lazy days anymore.  We grow up and life gets busy and we forget what it was like when we were kids and we had those lazy summer days where we did nothing and enjoyed it.

There are days where I wonder if I am doing the right thing.  If leaving is going to be good for my life, my son’s life.  I have roots here.  My whole family is here.  My son has been my number one priority in life for the last 23 years.  I am not sure I know how to be me without him.  I know that this is something that I need to do but I also wonder what my life will be like once I leave.

So many people wish me luck and say “I hope you find what you are searching for.” The thing is that I am not searching for anything.  I am being called.  I have no idea where I am going or why. I just know that I am suppose to go.  I have as many questions as most “normal” people do.  What will I see?  What will I find during this journey?  When will the journey end?  Will it ever end?  Will I find love?  Will I be alone the rest of my life? Will I be alright? I have no answers.  I have hopes and dreams but no answers.  I want to believe that there is somewhere out in this world that I will land.  I want to believe that the life I am heading into will be blessed and filled with love.  I want to believe that I will fall in love again and live happily ever after.

What I do know is that life is full of peaks and valleys and I have walked many of them.  My life has not been a cake walk.  It is alright though because I have survived so far.  I do know that my life is filled with love.  I also know that the love I share with my family and friends will never die, no matter where I go. The love I have in my life is what has gotten me through and I have little doubt that it will continue to do so.

As humans we crave love, affection, companionship.  I enjoy my own company. I love the woman I am. I have fought long and hard to find her and I don’t intend to lose the person I am.  I hope to grow and become better than I am in this moment on this day though.  I don’t mind being alone but I really don’t like the feeling of loneliness.

I miss having my person.  You know what I mean.  That person that I can tell my deepest darkest secrets to.  That person who I know will be there when I fall to help me get back up.  That person to hold me at night. That person that can look at me and know what I am feeling and thinking before anyone else in the room. That person that will hold me when I feel like my world has just come to an end and tell me that I am going to be okay and we can get through this together. That person who wants me as much as I want him. The one that wants me to be the last thing he sees when he goes to sleep and the first thing he sees when he wakes up.  That person who laughs with me. That person who makes me a better person because I love him and he loves me.  I want that. I wonder if I will find it.  I have no idea but I can hope and dream. I know he is out there, somewhere.

Don’t misunderstand me, I have love, I have people to turn to. My “kids” are always there when I need them. My family is always there when I need them. My son has stepped up more than anyone could possibly imagine the last year and half, yet with all of the friends and family I have in my life I do not have that one person that makes my heart skip.  I don’t have my person and I feel that hole in my life significantly.

The last 11 months has been all about healing myself.  I have pretty much kept to myself.  I have felt the pain. I have let it flow through and out of me. I have worked daily to heal. I can’t say that there is no pain left, that would be a lie. I believe that there will always be pain.  You don’t lose someone you loved so much and not have pain in your heart because they are not here anymore.

You do, with time, start thinking of the good things they offered you and how they made a difference in your life.  That is part of the healing. Then a day comes and you can smile at their memory. You can laugh about the things they did and although there are tears combined with the laughter they aren’t so much tears of pain but rather tears of missing. You never stop missing the love you shared. Yet, it lives on because you carry it deep in your heart.  At some point though you find yourself wanting to have that type of love again.  You hope it is as good and pray it is better and life moves on.

So although I have no answers as to what is coming in the future, I believe.  I believe I will become a better person.  Spirit has a plan.  I believe I will find love in friends and family that I intend to visit.  I believe that in each place I will leave a piece of myself and take a piece of the place with me. I believe that I will find the land that is calling me.  I believe that I will find love again.  I will find my person.  I believe he is out there, longing and yearning for the same things I am. He is waiting for me to show up and when I get there we will rock each other’s world.  I don’t know where he is but I am believing that he is waiting with open arms and when I find him I will run straight into them and never look back. I believe. I believe because I dream. I believe because I know that in this life anything is possible and as I walk this last leg of my life I just know it is going to be beautiful and love filled! I believe that Spirit has a plan.

In Her Service,

Sage

I Am Sorry For Your Loss

I am no expert in grief.  I can only share my own perspective.  I can only tell my own story.  I do know that the society that we live in does not like to talk about death.  They avoid it at all cost.  It makes us very uncomfortable.  Maybe because by acknowledging death we have to face our own mortality.  Nobody wants to think about dying.  It just isn’t something we want to face, not even when we have to.

Over the last year and a half I have had people who I believed were my friends just disappear.  Yes, they were losing a friend but in the process they lost two friends.  They turned their back not only on the person that was dying but also on those left behind.  It is heartbreaking.  It is frustrating.  It is something many of us face when we are dancing with death.  Those that we love and those that we thought loved us just can’t handle what they know the final outcome is.  Oh sure they will show up for the funeral but after that they disappear.  They disappear because they can’t face the pain.  They don’t want to see you cry.  They don’t want to see you hurt so it is easier to just disappear.  At least for a while.

The problem is that when you are alone, in that dark place, aching and feeling like your world is falling apart because you are the survivor, this is when you need people the most.  This is when you need to know that someone, anyone, who has said that they will be there for you, is actually there.  When they aren’t the world goes upside down because now you have not only lost your loved one but you have also lost the people that you thought you could depend on.

Everyone handles grief differently. Some want to be alone, at least at first, I did, but even those who want to be alone in their grief still need to know that there is someone there if they need them.  When they choose to reach out and that person won’t respond, whether it is through text or phone it is heart wrenching. It brings the grief rushing back all over again.  You see, you can’t take it back 6 months down the line.  The damage is done.  The friendship is never going to be the same, all because someone couldn’t handle your pain.  It is sad but true.  No excuse will work. That trust has been broken.

When my husband was diagnosed with cancer I tried to contact a woman that was suppose to be one of my best friends.  I asked her if we could talk, if I could call her.  I needed someone to talk to, to cry with.  She said I am busy but I will call you tomorrow.  Tomorrow never came.  She didn’t call and I didn’t give her the news.  She eventually found out and then said that if I needed anything to let her know.  Yet, every time I tried to contact her she was unavailable.  Then my husband died.  She came to his small memorial.  Told me how much she loved me and that if I needed anything she was there.  I have this tendency to give everyone I care about chance after chance after chance to hurt me just one more time.  I tried reaching out a few weeks later and once again, nothing.  A few weeks later I get a text telling me how sorry she was that she hadn’t been there for me but her life was crazy.  It is ok.  But really it isn’t ok.  I just don’t consider her my friend anymore.  I lost her because no matter how many excuses she can give me she chose not to be there.  Life goes on but the pain still lingers.

We don’t think about the things we say to people when someone they love dies.  I believe we are trying to find a way to cheer the person up.  I believe we are so uncomfortable with death that we don’t know what to say to them.  I can tell you that the very best thing to say to someone is “I am sorry for your loss.” Do not make promises you can’t or won’t keep, that only makes you feel good in the moment you are saying it.  If you can’t offer help and follow through then don’t offer the help because when someone says, “if you need me I am here” and then they reach out for you and you aren’t it is devastating to that person.

One thing that people forget is that not everyone has the same religious beliefs as them.  When my daughter died I was told that I just needed to accept the fact that it was God’s will.  That God wanted her more than I did.  I am sorry but these are not the words to say to a grieving mother.  In that moment, nobody wanted my only daughter more than I did.  A God that decided that he wanted my daughter so I just needed to get over it is not a God I want to know.  That simple statement literally changed my whole life.  I was angry for a very long time and quite honestly I was angry at God for taking my child.  I didn’t give a damn if she was going to be “a beautiful rose in his garden.”  I wanted to hold her, love her, watch her grow into the beautiful woman I know she would have been.  It was not comforting.  So when you are offering your religious beliefs to comfort another, just don’t.  It causes more pain than you can possibly know. Just say “I am sorry for your loss.”  That is good enough!

Another thing that people do, because they don’t want to see you in pain, they don’t want to see you cry, they just don’t want to deal with it, is to offer advice.  I actually had a woman tell me, two weeks after my husband died, that I needed to get out and find love again and then I would get over it.  My first thought was she obviously didn’t know us very well because anyone who knew us would know that this would NEVER happen.  I had a beautiful relationship with my husband and even now there is pain.  I imagine that there will always be pain.  Have I healed?  Yes, I believe I have but that does not take away the loss of what could have or should have been.  It just means that I have accepted that he is gone and I am ready to move on in my life.  I guarantee you though that 2 weeks after his death this was not the case.  It was a thoughtless thing to say.  I understand that it was her way of trying to “help” but it was help that I didn’t need in that moment. What I needed was for someone to understand the pain I was feeling, and since she had lost her husband I thought she would.  Apparently not.

I have watched so many people deal with the loss of their loved ones.  It is a very painful process.  It makes you realize how precious and short life is.  This pain is something that you carry forever.  You will always miss the person who has left you.  It makes no difference if it is your Father, Mother, Husband, Wife, Daughter, Son, any family member that you loved or a friend.  Their loss is felt throughout time until your last breath.  You heal.  You learn to live without them. You know that life goes on.  It is something you face daily.  Some days are easier than others.  You face the anniversaries of their death every year.  You feel them. You know that love is still there but with time the pain begins to shift and it is no longer all engulfing.  You see your life without them and you find yourself ready to keep moving forward.  To love again, to hope again.

My point in writing this is not for sympathy.  I am fine.  I have dealt with grief so many times over the last 5 years that I have made friends with it.  I can feel it, acknowledge it and continue on.  Dancing with death has been something I seem to do regularly and part of death is grief.  I am not a super human I still feel every loss but I also know that no matter how hard I try I can’t run away from it. Instead I choose to hold it’s hand and face it.  Listen to what it has to say and then continue living, until I don’t.

My point is that before you go to comfort someone who has just had a great loss in their life, please think before speaking.  If you can’t offer yourself and mean it then don’t offer yourself.  If you can’t handle the emotions the person is displaying then excuse yourself.  Never ever tell someone to just get over it, Please!  If you have no other words, then just say I am sorry for your loss.  Those 6 words acknowledge that you know they have lost.  They make a huge and significant difference to the person hearing them. If you feel the need to do something then hold their hand, hug them, tell them you love them but please be mindful of promises that are going to hurt when they are not fulfilled.

Be mindful of empty platitudes that will only cause a deeper hurt because when heard it makes them feel as though you don’t understand and you don’t care. Please be mindful.  Grief is a funny thing, it comes in waves and it lasts for a long time, whether you are comfortable with it or not.  It is a part of many people’s lives and although it is uncomfortable for you it is more painful for the person living it.  Offer love, offer comfort, offer your condolences but please keep your advice to yourself unless you are asked for advice.

Life is all about dancing with death, it is a dance we all dance daily, whether we want to face it or not. Someday it will be your grief you face and you will be thankful when you realize that “I am sorry for your loss” was enough.

In Her Service,

Sage

 

 

When the Land Calls

In my lifetime I have lived in many places.  I was born and raised in California. Yes, I know I am a California girl, through and through.  For the last 27 years I have been back in California so, thus far, the majority of my life has been lived walking this land.

Yet, for several years I didn’t live here.  I lived in Illinois for several years.  It was a land that for some reason I never quite fit in with.  It didn’t awaken my heart and soul.  Some of the people did but the land does not call me to return, now or ever.

I lived in Oklahoma.  It is so beautiful there, red clay everywhere.  I have sad memories there as it was a place that I hemorrhaged and had a miscarriage. I lost my first child there.  St. Mary’s hospital.  A place I will never forget.  The land though does not call me.  I have never yearned to return.  Maybe because the memories aren’t so great?

I lived in Alabama.  I absolutely, truly 100% loved Alabama.  Everything about it, I loved.  I felt at home there.  I could walk lookout mountain a million times and never, ever get enough of it.

I guess I am truly a mountain girl when it comes right down to it since that seems to always be where I leave my heart.  Somewhere on a mountain.  I lived in a little town with a big name.  I loved everything about it there.  For years I thought that I would return there to live at some point.  Who knows, maybe, but honestly I don’t see it happening now.

I still love it there but it just doesn’t call me like it use to.  I can’t explain it because it makes no sense to me.  Maybe it is just because I am not the same person I was when I lived there and I doubt that I would fit in there anymore.  No matter though the point is that I love the land there and that land loved me back for several years.  It was home. My song for many years was “Sweet Home Alabama” and even now when I hear it, it makes me smile and remember good times and not so good times.

I lived in Wisconsin after my divorce.  I always felt at home there.  It just felt right. I never intended or wanted to leave if the truth be known.  The people were good people and the land spoke to me.

This really hit home for me a few months ago when a friend of mine sent me a video of “beautiful Wisconsin” and my heart began to yearn.  It yearned for the land.  I wanted to explore.  I wanted to find a lost friend among the trees.  I wanted to find a river to go sit by so I could listen to the birds, feel the water flow and just be.  I could feel the land pulsate under my feet and I wasn’t even walking it. It is the first time in a long time that a land has made me yearn to know it again.  I am planning on going back to get reacquainted very soon. I don’t know if it will be where I land when my trip is complete but I know that I have been called to return.

There are so many beautiful places in this beautiful country we live in.  I believe that when we live somewhere we leave a part of our being there and we take a part of the land with us in our soul.

I have lived in the mountains for the last eight years.  I tried to leave a little over a year ago and my mountain called me every day.  I cried almost every day because I needed to return to find my peace within.  This land is sacred.  Many tribes of Native American’s lived and worked these mountains long before I ever came here.  If you stop and listen you can still hear their voices.  The trees sing a beautiful song when the wind is blowing and when the snow falls I feel complete and utter peace.  This has been home and this is where my soul has grown and grieved.  A part of me will always reside here and this mountain will always reside within me.  We have become friends and it has brought me strength and love more times than I can count.  We have an agreement now.  It is time for me to leave.  It is time for me to move on.  I will take a part of it with me and in my heart it will always be home but I no longer belong here.  The mountain has given me all that it can give me and in return I have honored it and loved it and given all that I have to give.

Packing and stacking the things that I am taking with me on my trip has made me stop and think about the places I have been and the places I am going.  Will I find a place that makes my soul sing?  Will there be a land that calls to me so strongly that I just can’t see myself being anywhere else?  I truly believe I will and when I get there I will know it.  Will the people matter?  Of course, but ultimately it is the land that will call.  It is the land that will fill my heart and welcome me home.  I know this.  I feel this deeply.  I am trusting Spirit to guide me where I need to go and at this moment in time the only place that I have a deep yearning to go to is Wisconsin.  I have people that matter to me there.  Yet, more importantly that tiny little video awoke a deep yearning to return.  Maybe all I need is a visit to reconnect.  Maybe not.

All I know, in this very moment, is that the land is calling me.  Where I land is not nearly as important as the land that calls my heart and welcomes me with open arms and says.. this is home.  That is where you will find me at the end of my journey, the place where the land calls me.  What land does your soul yearn for?  Will you listen to it’s call?

In Her Service,

Sage

 

Love Wins

For years after my first divorce I struggled with letting people take advantage of me.  I was like the carpet by the front door, wipe your feet on it and walk in.

After so many years of being told that I would never amount to anything, I was stupid, unworthy, to fat, to ugly, basically a worthless human, I struggled with not only finding out who I was and what I liked but also that I was worthy and deserved love.

Bottom line, I was deeply wounded and finding my own voice, strength and worthiness.  Learning to love myself and that woman I saw in the mirror was a long and arduous journey.  It was not a journey that was completed over night.  In fact, it has been a daily journey for over 27 years.

There are setbacks, then leaps forward and the cycle continues on and on, over and over again.  It only takes someone to use the right combination of words to throw me back.  I call them triggers.

These triggers can and do rock my world.  They bring back the fear I had for my own survival and ultimately they make me feel insecure and inept.

Recently, I went through an ordeal where I not only felt unwanted, hated, and so many other things but worse than that I felt unworthy.  I felt as though I had no strength, no voice, no way of figuring life out anymore.  This time was different though, this time it was caused by deep, buried grief. I held on.  After burying my head under the blankets for 3 weeks I got up and started again.

My heart was shattered, my body felt as though it had been beaten, my mind was numb but I didn’t quit and I began searching.  I searched for my voice as well as my strength.  I knew it was there.  I knew I would survive but would I ever be whole again?  Would I love this new me?  Would I love that woman in the mirror again?

When my life gets turned upside down I turn to Spirit.  Spirit is where my faith lies and thus far in life Spirit has never let me down.  Oh don’t get me wrong, I have had many disappointments because things didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to but always the final outcome is better than even I can imagine.

Over the last 23 years I have worked very hard to be an example to my son Jeremy.  I wanted him to have love beyond words and a mom he could be proud of.

A mom who showed strength in the face of adversity, who could overcome the obstacles in front of her.  A mom who spoke her truth and stood strong in that truth.  I wanted him to know and understand love, but more importantly I wanted him to know and understand compassion.

I wanted him to know and understand that no matter what gifts life gives him he is no better than anyone else that lives and breathes.  I wanted him to know that prejudices against others because of race, sexual orientation or any other divisive issue breeds hate and hate kills the soul.  He needed to know that we are all equal regardless of who we are and what we believe.

I needed and wanted to be an example to him as a woman who had a deep, abiding faith in Spirit.

I never wanted him to see me a total wreck. I failed at this after 23 years of striving to succeed.  He saw me fall utterly and completely apart.  Do you know what I learned?

I learned that my son has grown up to be everything I had hoped for!  He was strong when I was weak.  He was kind, caring and compassionate.  Never once did he waiver in his love.  He helped me pick the pieces of myself up and encouraged me to find my own way in putting those pieces back together. No judgment, no anger, just love.

I am back, a little bit tattered but when I look in the mirror I am happy with the woman I see again.

Here is the thing.  I know they say after your spouse dies you should not make life changing decisions for 6 months to a year.  This is really great advice. Sometimes though life happens.  You need or have to make decisions for you well being so you can survive.

I believe you have to trust that everything is unfolding just as it should.  Love finds a way to your heart and then your heart gets broken again.  If never given the chance, never being open to it, how do you you if you can love again or trust another? Having my heart broken made me grieve for all I had lost.  It also showed me the strength I carry within.  It changed me.  Life is all about changes right?  Nothing ever stays exactly the same from one moment to the next.

I not only survived it I came out of it all with a knowledge that I can love again.  More than that I want to love and be loved again.  I never imagined that I would ever feel that way again.  I had love, I lost love and my life was just about getting to the end, until I realized how much love I truly have to still give.  So many lessons in such a short time.  I find it amazing.

I don’t “need” anyone.  I instead stand in choice.  One of the things I learned in my training was that everything we do is done in choice.  We live in choice.  This is a beautiful way of seeing life.  It is all about taking responsibility for our actions and be conscious of our choices.  Knowing why we are doing what we are doing and trusting that our intuition is right rather than delaying everything and then blaming others for our bad decisions.  I have made many bad choices in my lifetime.  I own them all.  They were mine and only mine.

Anyway, I choose to love again.  I choose to be open to see where the road leads me. I choose love and in my heart I know that love will find a way.  It always does.

My belief is that Spirit brings you to the people who will make you stand up and be your best self.  Spirit offers you the opportunity and the lesson and how you choose determines how you grow.

I believe deep down inside each of us we want to love and be loved.  Many times we have been so hurt and had failed relationships that we are afraid to jump. We live in fear that the other person won’t love us.  We fear that we won’t be good enough.  We fear.  For me my triggers start to come alive again.  What if I am not worthy?  What if I am not good enough?

And then something amazing happens, the self talk goes away and I remember that I am worthy and I love that woman in the mirror.  I have worked long and hard over the years to know who I am and what I want.  I have stood in my truth when it has cost me more than most are willing to lose.  I have been all of the things I had hoped to show my son a woman can be.  I realize that I am love and no matter what someone else chooses to believe I am more than worthy.  It is true freedom when you love the person you are and trust that what is brought to you is going to be perfect just the way it is.

I don’t need to change him.  I can love him just the way he is.  I can love with all of my heart.  I can jump because regardless of what fear there may be I trust my heart and I trust that Spirit is leading me exactly where I need to be.  I am jumping.  I am giving it my all and nothing less.  Because that is me.  I don’t know how to be anything other than that.  If it is to much or not enough I can look in the mirror and know that I offered all that I am with no conditions.  Love wins either way.

I believe we all make mistakes.  I have made many.  With that said though I also believe in second and third chances.  As many as it takes to make things right in our hearts.  I believe in forgiveness.  To me forgiveness is a form of love, whether you have to forgive yourself or someone else.  The act of forgiveness is an act of love.

Ultimately, we all live in choice.  We choose if we are going to be kind and compassionate.  We choose if we are going to forgive ourselves or others.  We choose whether we will be lonely.  We choose happiness.  We choose to never give up on someone and ourselves.  We choose if we will open up and love again.  We choose what our life will be filled with, pain or joy.  We choose.  What choices will you make?

In Her Service,

Sage

Many Lifetimes, One Life

I had a life, once.  Actually, looking back over the years it seems that I have had many lives in this lifetime.  Do you ever feel that way?  Do you ever look back on your life and say to yourself, “That was a lifetime ago?”

This morning I met with a new friend to deliver books she had purchased.  While we were talking I was telling her a bit about the book stand she bought.  In our home it had history and I always feel people should know the history of items.  You see my books have been a part of my family for many years and so has most of the items I am currently selling.  They each have their own history and personality.

Anyway, after telling her how we used the stand she asked me if I was sure I wanted to part with it.  It was a stand I used during ritual and one Mike used when he did handfastings. My answer was yes.  Actually my answer was more than yes.  It was more along the lines of it is all about letting go.

After we parted ways I started thinking about this letting go business.  You hear it said over and over, just let it go, but what does that really mean?  You can’t undo the things that have happened so how do you just let them go?  I can completely understand letting go of items but sitting and thinking about it made me realize that letting go of items is not so easy either.  Our society determines your success by the items you have.  Letting them go means what? Where will that put you in the standing of keeping up with the Jones’?

This train of thought led me to the opening of this.  I had a life, once.  Actually many.  You see I can look back on my life and see many treasured items.  Each of them held a memory.  Each treasure had a portion of my life attached to it.  Yet, none of these lives or the person who lived it really exists anymore.  I know that makes no sense, after all, I am writing this right now so how could they not exist? I guess technically you are right.  I am the summation of all of these lives and I am still here living so somewhere deep inside of me all of these people still exist.

Here is the thing though. I am no longer that infant girl whose biological father didn’t want her because she was a girl. She is gone.  She has grown up.

I am no longer the sexually abused little girl who grew up in a wonderful home with a kick ass family with a dad who chose her and made her his daughter.  I dreaded my summers because that meant I had to find a way to protect myself and my sister from the man we called grandpa.  I protected her just fine but somehow I didn’t do so well on protecting myself.  I am no longer her.  I healed those wounds.  They no longer affect me.  She is gone.  She has grown up.  The truth has been told and life goes on.

I am no longer the teenager who dreamed of becoming a forest ranger but instead got married at the age of 16.  I am no longer that girl that had her first child at the age of 18 and then found herself in an abusive marriage.  I am not that 24 year old woman that lost her heart when she lost her son’s. I am no longer that 24 year old woman who cried herself to sleep every night and found that alcohol would numb the pain.  I am no longer that 24 year old woman who lived in fear for her life.  She has been healed.  She has grown up.

I am no longer that 25 year old woman who fell head over in heels in love with a man named Brian but ultimately ran because she loved him to much.  She left because it was the only way to keep her tattered, beaten heart from being totally destroyed.  She protected herself but at the same time she lost herself. Instead she drove 1,500 miles when her grandma called and said “I need you.”

I am no longer that 25 year old woman that came home because her best friend, her grandma, needed her only to have her best friend die 6 weeks later.  I am not that woman anymore.  I am no longer angry at my best friend.  She has been healed.  She has grown up.

I am no longer that 27 year old woman who lost her only daughter.  I am no longer that woman who turned away from her beliefs because she was told to get over losing all 4 of her children because it “was God’s will and I just needed to move on.” No, I am no longer that woman.  That woman walked away from her religious upbringing because her God could not be that cruel and found her heart in a different path.  I am no longer that woman.  She has been healed.  She has grown up.

I am no longer that 31 year old woman that has a 2 year old son and is going through another divorce because when our daughter died we quit talking.  I am no longer that woman who still loves her husband but can no longer communicate with him.  The anger to great.  The grief to deep.  I am no longer that woman.  She has been healed.  She has grown up.

I am no longer that 36 year woman who married a man who didn’t know how to love. I am no longer that woman who came into money, trusted the wrong people, had her marriage fall apart and him take all that was left leaving her desolate with a 7 year old.  She has healed.  She has grown up.

I am no longer that 42 year old woman who has just remarried her best friend.  It was different this time.  There was love, understanding, kindness, acceptance.  She had her everything back and life was good, for a change.  Her healing had brought her love again.  Her growing up had brought a new dimension to life.

All of these women were a part of this lifetime, yet, each feels like a lifetime ago. Each brought their own trials, their own lessons, their own healing. Each feel like they are different women, looking through different eyes.  I understand that they are all phases of one lifetime but they all feel like different lifetimes.

So who am I?  I am the culmination of all of these women.  I carry their hurt, their victories, their lessons within me.  I am now a woman that has lived many lifetimes in one lifetime.  I am now a 51 (soon to be 52) year old woman who has once again lost her best friend.  He died this time so there is no going back.  I am a woman who has climbed many mountains, suffered many losses and yet here I am still standing.  I am a woman who is learning what letting go means.  I have let go of all of these women and now I am letting go of the life I once had.

A life filled with love.  A life filled with understanding.  A life filled with acceptance of who I am, no questions asked.  A life filled with happiness and laughter.  Now I start anew.  Now I look to the future and I know that the only way to move forward is to let go.

Abandonment and rejection are two of the hardest lessons to accept for me. It seems that every man I have ever truly loved has abandoned me on one level or another.  Either physically or emotionally.  It all hurts the same.  I am working on letting it go but it has not been easy.

Now I am letting go of my life.  The treasures of the home I shared with a husband that adored me.  The life we had together.  It is gone.  A new me is being born and a year from now I will no longer be this woman.  She will be gone.  She will be healed. I am letting everything go including the woman I am today.  I am excited to see who I become.  The journey is filled with beauty and I know that these hurts, these lessons, will soon be a part of the woman I will be.

Letting go means we are healing or we have healed.  We no longer need to hold onto the things we own, the person we believe we are, to be whole.  We allow ourselves to just “be” and right now, this is what I am striving for, learning to just “be.” No expectations, no set in stone plans, just going and finding the beauty and the amazing life that awaits me.

In Her Service,

Sage

Dreaming Again

When hope dies.  When your dreams are destroyed.  What do you do?

A year ago today I saw all of my hopes and dreams die a painful death in a matter of moments.  “No, you are not strong enough to continue chemo.  There is no other treatment.”

Those simple words set me on a journey that literally changed my life.  They weren’t spoken to me, although I was in the room when they were spoken, ultimately they turned my world upside down.

There were dreams to travel.  There were dreams to grow old together.  There were hopes of healing.  The fight was not so long but it felt like an eternity.

The future was no longer “together.”  There would be no future.  We were now living for “moments.”  We were no longer planning for next week, month or year. Instead we were living and dying in each moment of now.

Over the years I have become very familiar with death.  In an up close and personal way.  So many of my friends have left this earth way to soon.  Joey, Grant, John, Reggie, Tony, all to young to die, all gone.  Then there is family, Marvin, Lonnie, Doris, Jesse, Rick, my Dad.  All gone in just a few years.  Death came and they were gone, forever.

All of them hold a special place in my heart.  All of them touched my life in a beautiful, positive way.  Whether they were a part of my life for a short time or years on end, they made a difference by being here.

This time though it was up close and very personal.  This was affecting every little detail of my life.

I thought the world would end when my dad, my hero, died.  The closest I can come to describing the devastation I felt was to compare it to losing my only daughter.  Both of these deaths changed me.  Both tore my heart into pieces that would take years to pick up and heal.  Honestly, I am not sure all of the pieces have been picked up and healed yet.

This time was different.  This time I was losing my best friend, my love, the father to my son, my everything.  I found strength in places I never expected but there were moments when I was not sure I would survive this.

Not only was I losing the man I loved I was losing my way of life.  Nothing would ever be the same.  The hopes and dreams we had together were gone forever.

It is said that everyone grieves differently.  Maybe because the death of someone we love affects us all in different ways.  It is, many times, dependent on who that person was to you and how deeply they touched your life.

My belief is that when you are dealing with a long term illness you begin grieving when the diagnosis is given.  I know I did.  Every day from that moment to the very end, I grieved.

At first we held hope that surgery could be done.  That hope was lost quickly. Then we hoped that chemo would heal – all while it killed – that hope was lost after 2 months.  Then we hoped that alternative treatments would help.  They did in many ways, but unless you are willing to cut the ugliness out of your life there is only so much that can be healed.  He wasn’t willing and ultimately it cost him his life.

At first it was a matter of grieving the things we could no longer do.  We couldn’t just pick up and go anymore.  No more little day trips to our favorite places that we loved so much.  He was to weak and just didn’t have the energy to just go.

Then it was a matter of grieving the man I loved changing.  The man who sighed and rolled his eyes when something annoyed him.  The man who was quick witted and always had a smart ass retort to just about everything.  The man who laughed and smiled at the little, silly things in life.  The man who joked.  The man who loved music and sang.  That man was gone.  Oh, he had his moments until the very end but every day became more of a struggle and every day these attributes slipped away further and further into the ethers.

Towards the end it was a matter of grieving the things he was losing.  His ability to do things for himself.  His ability to have clear thoughts.  His ability to fight for his life.

Watching someone who prided themselves on the way they were able to help others need 24/7 help is difficult.  You can see them die inside every time you have to do the simple things for them.  They are no longer the helper but rather one receiving help and it is a role they have no time to adjust to.  It is humbling.

I grieved for all of the things he was going through. Dying robs you of any pride or dignity you might have while fully living.  Dying with grace is a feat many do not accomplish during a long term illness.  He did.  Each day he would lose the ability to do something else yet he handled it with grace.  That is not to say there was no frustration, there was, but ultimately, he would just let it go.  What beauty it is to watch surrender in motion.  It is a life lesson I intend to never forget.

Grieving is a long, tedious process.  In my world it began over a year ago.  Much has been healed and there is still much to heal.

Dancing with Death so up close and personal is yet another story to tell at a later date.

So what happens when all of your hopes and dreams are destroyed?  You keep breathing. You take time to heal. You trust your God/Goddess/Spirit, whatever you choose to call what you believe in, to lay a new path in front of you.  You do everything within your power to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  You keep your heart open. You learn. You hurt. You let go of the old and embrace the new. You love.  Before you realize it new hopes and dreams begin to come forward. You embrace them. You follow them. You live.

In Her Service,

Sage

The Rings

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There are days when you can feel your emotions right on the edge.  You know where every little thing threatens to make you cry or brings up an emotion you just weren’t expecting? Today was one of those days for me.

It started with me going through all of my altar stuff.  Dismantling your life is tedious and exhausting work.  It also brings back a ton of memories.  Looking at my altar stuff I found things that were given to me as gifts that I knew I couldn’t part with.  Other things I used as a representation for this or that.  They will mean nothing to anyone but me.  Trying to decide what to get rid of and what to keep is a feat in and of itself.

Then you add two young men who want things that meant something to you for their own altars.  In my previous post I talked about Cerridwen being the Goddess I work most with and on my altar for years I have kept a beautiful glass pig.  My son wanted her.  Then there was an owl for Bloudewedd that Kity wanted.  That doesn’t count the small minute things that each of them claimed as their own.  It is one of those things that you find very kind and sweet.  They want to keep you and your energy near them and at the same time it is difficult to let go of those things that have brought you so much comfort for so many years.

Emotions run high on both sides.  The receiver and the giver.  We all felt it.  It is a way of letting go and preparing for a future that we are all uncertain of but know is necessary. Trepidation, love, laughter and a few feelings of what is really going to happen once the reality sets in and this new beginning actually begins.

And then this happens…

I get ready to head upstairs and I stop at the end of my bed for a moment.  I look over and I see my wedding ring laying there next to Mike’s.  I know immediately what needs to be done.  I pick them up and head upstairs.

The memories come flooding back.  The first time we were married we went for simple gold rings.  The second time he bought me a beautiful Goddess ring and I bought him a celtic type weaved ring.  I ultimately couldn’t wear my ring because it would break my hands out so we opted to go back to the two simple gold rings we had originally.  I wore them for a while after he died, until I couldn’t anymore.  After so many years of wearing them all of a sudden my hand would break out in a terrible rash every time I wore them.  I finally figured that it was his way of telling me to let go and I took them off.  They have sat there together since.

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I am standing in the kitchen and I ask Jeremy to come in.  I had already given him the weaved ring a couple of months ago.  I try to make sure that he has things that meant something to his dad to hold onto.  They were so close and Mike’s death has been extremely hard for him.  He lost his best friend the day his dad died, he lost his dad way to young.  They had to many things left to do that will never happen now so the small things are most important now.

Into the kitchen he comes and I ask him to put his pinky finger out.  He does and I put both of our rings on his finger.  He looked at me kind of funny and I asked him if he knew what they were.  He didn’t.  I told him that they are our wedding rings and he immediately cried.  I cried.  Then we laughed.  He told me how small our hands were. The moment was beautiful and now we move on.

I keep telling myself that they are “just rings.” Yet, deep in my heart I know that they are more than “just rings,” they represent a friendship that was true and deep.  They represent a love that was unique and fulfilling.  They represent pain, loss, love, laughter and a life of happiness that ended way to soon.

To the outside eye they are “just rings” but to me they are filled with memories. My only wish now is that our son will make his own memories with them but never forget what they represent in his life.  A mother and a father who love him more than life itself.  Parents who loved and laughed together.  He can add his own memories to them and someday he can share them with his own family. For now, for me, they represent letting go and starting anew.  The memories are sweet, my heart is full and those rings are now our son’s.  The circle of life moves forward.  I am thankful.

Emergence

As I stated in my “about me” section I follow two paths, they intersect and I am integrating them, quite beautifully, together.  On one path I follow the path to Avalon through the Sisterhood of Avalon.  On the other I follow a shamanic path that is based on Peruvian/Andean teachings.  I can see their wheels together and they are very similar in many ways. One is sunwise and one is moonwise.  Yet both have the similar healing’s and although different symbols are used they take you to the same yet different places in your own sovereignty.

Right now, in the Sisterhood, we are working on the cycle of Emergence. Descent, Confrontation and now Emergence have all been intense for me this year.  Some days I have wondered if I would survive this cycle, emotionally.  I didn’t consciously work the cycle this time.  In fact, I quite consciously, decided to “take a break” because of all of the turmoil in my life.  The funny thing is though that when you walk this path there is no such thing as “taking a break.”

The cycle works whether you engage in it or not.  It is funny when you realize this.  When you can see that your Descent was one of the deepest and darkest you have incurred in all of the years you have walked this path.  When you can see that your Confrontation was brutal beyond words.  When you want to breathe a sigh of relief because you are coming into Emergence yet you know that it is far from over, there is still healing that needs to be done.  When you realize that the cycle is working you instead of you working it.  It is amazing.  It is beautiful.  It is heart wrenching.  It is painful.  It is worth it.

Integrating two paths together is extremely intense.  I was having a conversation last night with a beautiful soul that is interested in learning about Shamanism. One of the things I have learned walking both of these paths is that once you are called you cannot just walk away.  They take hold of you, they rule who you are becoming and they rule every little thing in your life at all times.  There is no walking away.  There is no choice to not engage.  You are here, you are doing the work and you are living the work no matter what you are doing in life.

It becomes a part of your being and you can run but you can’t hide.  Spirit rules. These paths are not for the faint of heart.  They are demanding.  They are fulfilling. They are exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time.  They are why you wake up in the morning and know that somehow, some way, you are standing in your sovereignty, yet, your life is not your own.

What do I mean by “your life is not your own?” Here is the thing, when you start walking either of these paths you have been called.  There is no saying no.  I guess you could just walk away but you will always have that yearning and Spirit will always bring you right back to where you are being called to, no matter where else you look or what else you choose to study.

When you first start out in the Sisterhood you begin by learning the Holy Days, you integrate them.  Then you go on and learn the landscape in which your soul walks.  Lastly, you begin working with the Goddesses of the path.  In this particular path you get to know Rhiannon, Cerridwen, Bloudewedd, Arianrhod and Branwen.

During this work you will have connections.  One holy day will usually become your favorite.  One piece of the landscape will call your name no matter where you live.  One Goddess will resonate louder than the others.  For me the Goddess who chose me was Cerridwen.  She can be one of the most difficult Goddesses to please, yet, She is also one of the most giving and loving Goddesses I have ever worked with.  Of course this is just my view and experience. Other Sisters may see it differently. That is the beauty of this path, everything is based on your own perspective. Your personal experiences are validated by your work and most often others have experienced similar things at the same time.

When I started my Shamans training I was taught about the animal symbols and what they represented.  In my path it is Snake, Jaguar, Hummingbird, Condor/Eagle.  The Sun God Inti Tayta, The Earth Goddess Pachamama.  I can say that much of my training was working with these entities as well as learning the tools to heal.  Much like the Sisterhood your perspective begins to change when you develop a personal connection with all of these beings. Life becomes more beautiful yet it also becomes more challenging. Especially when you do not follow where you are led.

As I said earlier, right now in the Sisterhood we are working through Emergence. The equivalent to this in my Peruvian path is the Hummingbird.  The Hummingbird brings you the sweet nectar of life.

Emergence is when you begin to come out of the darkness and can look back at the healing that has occurred.  The issues you have faced and the changes within that have occurred.  It gives you a chance to see the shift in your perspective.  It allows you to look in the mirror and see the woman you now are while seeing the woman you were. You allow yourself to acknowledge that you may not have healed all of you but you healed some of the layers that needed it.

You know that there is more.  You know that the next cycle will bring forth more healing, but for now, in this moment, the pain is not so intense, the anger is not so engulfing, the hurt is not so overwhelming and you have changed.  It is a good thing.  Your life is yours and you have healed, even if it isn’t completely healed, it is complete. You can enjoy the sweet nectar of life with the you that you have become by allowing yourself to be alright with where you are at this moment in time.

Emergence allows you to step into your sovereignty and be the woman that you are suppose to be.  When you are aware that you have survived and you are stronger for it. Your perspective has changed because you have changed. You know that life is good.  You can stand in your truth.  Live unapologetically.

As Emergence takes hold in my life I know that I stand firm.  I know that whether I truly decide to engage or not Spirit is working within and without.  I know that life is changing and I am working on embracing those changes.  Never discount the beauty of the path you walk.  When you embrace it you emerge a new person, changed forever but changed for the better.  Life is beautiful, now go live it.

In Her Service,

Sage